If I slightly reword your last sentence then it could read slightly like :
'We're not that far from earning the right for contact with an alien intelligence'
and that assumes a lot of things including the notion that 'they' are either very close by or have faster than light travel and also that anyone is 'monitoring' or surveying us.
Don't you think that's close to 'magical' or almost religious ?
Not having a go and actually would love to see extraterrestrial evidence in my lifetime but some of these debates can veer quite closely to very similar wording from debates on the substance of God or the nature of Heaven.
Do you think that's coincidental or a feature of the English (or any human) language ?